Hearing loss is well known to be a process that develops slowly. That’s why it can be rather pernicious. Your hearing gets worse not in big leaps but by little steps. So if you’re not paying close attention, it can be difficult to measure the decrease in your hearing. For this reason, it’s important to be familiar with the early signs of hearing loss.
A whole variety of related problems, like anxiety, depression, and even dementia, can result from untreated hearing loss, so although it’s hard to notice, it’s crucial to get hearing loss treated as early as possible. Timely treatment can also help you safeguard your present hearing levels. The best way to ensure treatment is to detect the early warning signs as they are present.
Initial signs of hearing loss can be hard to identify
Early hearing loss has subtle symptoms. You don’t, suddenly, lose a major portion of your hearing. Instead, the early signs of hearing loss hide themselves in your everyday activities.
The human body and brain, you see, are amazingly adaptable. When your hearing begins to go, your brain can start to compensate, helping you follow conversations or determine who said what. Likewise, if your left ear starts to fade, perhaps your right ear starts to compensate and you unconsciously start tilting your head just a bit.
But your ears and brain can only compensate so much.
Age related hearing loss – first signs
If you’re concerned that your hearing (or the hearing of a family member) may be waning as a result of age, there are some familiar signs you can watch out for:
- Increased volume on devices: This is probably the single most well-known sign of hearing loss. It’s classically known and cited. But it’s also very noticeable and trackable. If you’re frequently turning up the volume, that’s a sign that you aren’t hearing as well as you used to.
- You’re asking people to repeat themselves often: This might be surprising. In most cases, though, you will do this without recognizing that you are doing it at all. Obviously, if you have a hard time hearing something, you will ask people to repeat themselves. Some red flags should go up when this begins happening.
- Straining to hear in loud environments: One of the things your brain is remarkably good at is distinguishing individual voices in a busy space. But your brain has increasingly less information to work with as your hearing gets worse. Hearing in a busy room can quickly become a chore. Having a hearing examination is the best option if you find yourself steering clear of more conversations because you’re having a tough time following along.
- You can’t tell the difference between “s” and “th” sounds anymore: These consonant sounds normally vibrate on a wavelength that becomes progressively hard to differentiate as your hearing fades. You should pay particular attention to the “s” and “th” sounds, but other consonant sounds can also become mixed up.
You should also be on the lookout for these more subtle signs
There are a few signs of hearing loss that don’t seem to have very much to do with your hearing. These are subtle signs, undoubtedly, but they can be a major indicator that your ears are struggling.
- Difficulty concentrating: It could be difficult to achieve necessary levels of concentration to get through your day-to-day activities if your brain has to invest more resources to hearing. As a result, you might notice some trouble focusing.
- Restless nights: Ironically, another indication of hearing loss is insomnia. You might think the quiet makes it easier to sleep, but the strain puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.
- Persistent headaches: Your ears will still be struggling to hear even as your hearing is going. They’re doing hard work. And that sustained strain also strains your brain and can lead to chronic headaches.
It’s a good idea to give us a call for a hearing exam if you’re experiencing any of these age related signs of hearing loss. Then we can help you protect your hearing with the right treatment plan.
Hearing loss is a slow-moving process. With the right knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.